Michael D. Winkle

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I Heard of That Somewhere

Available at Barnes & Noble

And at Troy Taylor's American Hauntings Ink

A hundred years ago, a young boy went out to the well to fetch a bucket of water and never came back. His family went to look for him; they found his tracks in the snow, but these ended in mid-stride as if he'd stepped off a cliff. The boy called for help as if from a distance, but he was never seen again.

You know, I heard of that somewhere. It happened in Indiana - or Alabama - or Wales.

In bustling, modern New York City a man dressed in Victorian clothing materialized in the middle of Times Square during the rush hour. He was immediately hit by a cab and killed. All the papers found on him were dated from the 1870s. An inquisitive police chief dug back through old records and found that a man by the same name had left home for a walk one night in 1876 and had never returned. At least, I heard of that somewhere.

Before Son of Sam, Ted Bundy, or Zodiac, Jack the Ripper stalked London, killing women by ones and twos. For over a century detectives and researchers tried to learn his identity, and he was finally revealed to be the same man who built the horrible "Murder Castle" at the Chicago World's Fair. Or he was a high-ranking member of the Freemasons who rode around the dingy alleys of East London in a royal coach. Or he was Queen Victoria's grandson. Well, I heard of that somewhere.

We've all heard of mysteries historical and paranormal; we've all discussed "true" tales at parties, around campfires, and at other informal gatherings. We are all fascinated by strange, scary, and inexplicable events, yet when we collect them and pass them on, we forget basic facts concerning them.

Even serious researchers into the paranormal suffer from this dichotomy. If the stories are true, they imply that the laws of nature don't always agree with scientists' theories, that we share this world with unknown creatures, spirits, and intelligences, and that powerful forces are at play in the universe - powers that might someday be harnessed by humanity. They might spark several paradign shifts in science and philosophy, if the phenomena behind them could be pinpointed and studied. Yet many writers and self-proclaimed experts can't seem to locate basic texts and first-person accounts on anomalies, relying instead on second- or third-hand versions from tabloids, YA and juvenile books, or mass-market publications meant only to entertain the general public.

In I Heard of That Somewhere author Michael D. Winkle traces famous and not-so-famous rumors, tall tales and urban legends to their origins, or as close as is feasible. Some old stories fade into fiction or hoax (though not as many as you might think). Others spread out in unexpected directions, bringing us to new, equally intriguing stories. Some actually become stranger the farther we search. And a few actually happened the way you heard of - somewhere.

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